Pioneers and Pathbreakers

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Pioneers and pathbreakers

In anticipation of Leonardo’s 50th anniversary, we are seeking papers dealing with the history of developments in the arts, sciences and technology. The aim of the project is to establish reliable, selected, online documentation about twentieth-century artists, scholars and institution builders whose works and ideas are considered seminal in the development of technological art. Since its founding in 1966, and the publication of the first issue in January 1968, Leonardo has accompanied and championed the work of the pioneers who were just beginning to use computers and other emerging technologies for artistic purposes.

We are interested in topics including the following:

  • Memoirs by pioneer artists using new media (holography, computer and electronic arts, telecommunication arts, interactive arts, new materials, space arts, bio art, etc.). Texts must be written by the artist, in English, and cover an extended body of work. Length may be up to 2,500 words, 8 illustrations. Preference will be given to artists describing early work carried out prior to 1980.
  • Memoirs of engineers and developers who collaborated with artists or whose engineering or computer science work in the 1960s, 1970s and/or 1980s proved to be important for developing the new art forms based on new and emerging technologies.
  • Memoirs by curators who organized art-and-technology exhibitions in the 1960s, 1970s and/or 1980s
  • Memoirs by pioneering collectors who were early supporters of technological artists.
  • Memoirs by pioneering institution founders of organizations, university programs or centers pre-1984.

Readers of Leonardo are asked to encourage their colleagues to submit such memoirs, which will be invaluable primary documents for historians and scholars in the future.

Interested authors should submit manuscript proposals or completed manuscripts to the Leonardo Editorial Office. Email to:

Memoirs and articles by pioneers published in Leonardo include:

A. Michael Noll (2014). “Early Digital Computer Art at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Incorporated”

Ian Parberry (2014). “Adventures in ASCII Art”

Frieder Nake (2014). “Algorithmic Art”

Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, with Peter Selz (2012). “The Harrisons: Talking and Remembering”

Recent Books published as part of the Leonardo Art History Initiative include:

Sean Cubitt (2014). The Practice of Light: A Genealogy of Visual Technologies from Print

Erkki Huhtamo (2014). Illusions in Motion: Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles

Sean Cubitt and Paul Thomas, editors (2013). Relive: Media Art Histories

Linda Dalrymple Henderson (2013). The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art

Stephen Jones (2011). Synthetics: Aspects of Art and Technology in Australia, 1956-1975

Paul Brown, Charlie Gere, Nicholas Lambert and Catherine Mason (2009). White Heat Cold Logic: British Computer Art 1960–1980

See also the Pioneers and Pathbreakers section of the Olats website for a selection of articles, bibliographies and other resources.

Editorial Advisors: Patrick McCray, Charissan Terranova, Eddie Shanken, David Carrier, Annick Bureaud, Roger Malina

Editorial Assistant: Poe Johnson

Updated 15 September 2014